Organised by the Mayor of London, the annual event features world premiere commissions, as well as international work being seen in the UK for the first time. This year’s festival has already attracted at least 100,000 people, with thousands more expected to head for the final week’s performances, which run from Thursday 17 to Sunday 20 August.
London Mayor Ken Livingstone said: ‘The Trafalgar Square Festival continues to build each year, developing its own personality, thanks to the distinctive programming and the incredible stage that the square provides.’
As well as UK artists, performers have come from Spain, Australia, France, Cameroon and Canada.
The last four days feature ‘Luved Up’, a new work by pioneering London based aerial dance theatre company Upswing, which combines bungee choreography with hip hop moves in collaboration with choreographer Jonzi D and Vicki Amedume. Upswing will perform on all four days.
Thursday also brings the London premiere of ‘La Divadivina/Paella Mixta’, an extraordinary double bill by contemporary Catalan dance company Sol Picó, which tells the surreal story of the rise and fall of a diva and has a ritualistic ‘tour de force’ performance by four male dancers.
On Friday, Spanish and Argentinean performers from Grupo Puja stage ‘K@osmos’, which metaphorically explores molecular physics. With a spherical ball structure suspended high over the heads of audiences, this promises to be one of the most spectacular performances of this year’s festival. The same day, Company FZ perform ‘Rope’, directed by award winning Flick Ferdinando, a duet by internationally acclaimed aerialists John-Paul Zaccarini and Matilda Leyser, which harnesses the effects of water and light.
On Saturday, Kinetika and other artists present ‘Tiger Out East’. Celebrating Bangladeshi culture in London, this involves an oversized, processional tiger created by Kinetika, inspired by the endangered Bengali tiger and accompanied by Bangla drummers. Directed by Sandip Chakravarty, with tiger dancers choreographed by Naz Choudhury, the performance also features Baul music with vocalists Kazal Dewan, Hashi Rani and Baul Shakom Ali and musicians from the Durbin Shah Memorial Trust UK Limited.
On the last day, Kinetika Bloco present ‘Roads to Freedom’, a visually dazzling display of West African and South African drumming, plus music and spectacular costumes in motion.
In a brand new commission, the Gandini Juggling Project presents ‘The Sweet Life’, featuring the very best in dexterous creativity for a one off site-specific performance centred in and around the fountains that has been inspired by Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.
The spectacular finale comes from Duo du Haut, with French circus artist Ramon Kelvink and Canadian Catherine Leger performing complex choreography on two poles 40 metres above the ground, virtually at eye level with Nelson himself. Accompanied by live opera from the Northern Terrace balcony, this promises to bring the Trafalgar Square Festival to a breath-taking close.
This year’s Trafalgar Square Festival has been inspired by the concept of a City on the Move, exploring the energy and vitality of the capital expressed through its diverse communities, the processes that have transformed it into the city it is today, and its future direction and possibilities.
(Thursday at 6pm / Friday at 8pm / Saturday & Sunday at 3pm)
Information: 020 7983 4100